High quality black tea from Sri Lanka is more than just a cup of tea; it is a timeless classic. The smooth texture and light astringency of Ceylon tea invokes the feeling of a warm breeze coming from the Bay of Bengal.
Every tea bag that we provide is part of a rich tradition of tea that spans back to the 1800’s. The former British colony of Ceylon was built entirely on coffee. This worked up until the early 1880’s, when the coffee industry within the colony collapsed. Destitute small plantation owners sold off their farms to try to survive, while larger plantation owners scrambled to find a substitute cash crop. Experimentation with indigo and cinchona had failed.
Luckily, up in the hills where the famous plantation districts of Kandy and Dimbula meet, a Scots planter named James Taylor had been experimenting with a new plant on his coffee-estate, Loolecondera: tea. In 1866, prior to the collapse of coffee, he had withered the first leaves, attempting to recreate the process used by tea-planters in Assam, India. By the time the coffee-blight struck, Taylor had planted 20 acres of tea plants and had produced a shipment of 23lb worth of tea that got sold entirely to England. His success had inspired local planters, who soon began visiting Loolecondera to learn how to grow and manufacture tea. Tea had saved Ceylon.
The transition from coffee to tea was a difficult one; more than 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres) of land had to be cleared of coffee-bushes and re-planted in tea. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself praised the herculean effort that the planters had put in to save the plantation economy. The smaller plantations that had gotten purchased during the collapse ended up as a part of the large, prosperous tea estates that we know and love today.
Drink a cup of invigorating history, sourced from what Sir Aurthor Conan Doyle had described as ‘… as true a monument to courage as is the lion at Waterloo.’